Resolutions: So Irresistible, So Hard to Keep

The Wall Street Journal:

It’s a scenario most of us know well: We start out on a grand plan to exercise more, lose weight or cut out the cigarettes. Then we fail, sometimes repeatedly, each time convincing ourselves that next time we’ll manage. Why can’t we stick to the plan, and why do we try again?

Having hope that one can achieve a goal, and making repeated efforts to reach it, can sometimes be necessary, says Janet Polivy, a psychology professor at the University of Toronto who has studied dieters for decades. After all, people may need several tries to learn from their mistakes or come up with better strategies. But being overly optimistic and repeatedly holding unrealistically high expectations erodes motivation and makes people much less likely to succeed, studies have shown.

Read the whole story: The Wall Street Journal

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